Elaine Taylor

5:30 News Co-host / Reporter

After graduating with a B.S. in Anthropology from the University of Utah, Elaine developed a love of radio while working long hours in remote parts of Utah as an archaeological field technician. She eventually started interning for the radio show Science Questions and fell completely in love with the medium. Elaine is currently taking classes at Utah State University in preparation for medical school applications. She is a host of UPR’s 5:30 Newscast and a science writer for the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station. Elaine hopes to bring her experiences living abroad in Turkey and Austria into her work.

Utah State Office of Education

The Utah State Office of Education has released its second report card for Utah schools. The 2014 grades range from A’s to Fs, with most schools getting a B.  

Ninety-three elementary schools and just six high schools received an A grade. Included on that list were Davis High, Viewmont High, Northern Utah Academy for Math, Engineering and Science, Success Academy, the Utah Academy of Science and InTech Collegiate High School.

Principal Jason Stanger at Logan’s InTech said the school’s focus on providing college-level classes to students helps set them apart.

USDA.gov

Holiday time means presents, parties and lots of recyclable waste. This holiday season the City of Logan, however, won’t be offering extra recycling pickups as it has in the past. Typically, blue recycle bins in the city are emptied every other week and once a week during holiday time, but as Logan City’s Emily Malik put it, there just isn’t enough demand to warrant the extra collections.

“I do think they had felt for several years that it wasn’t well utilized and just created more confusion than it was necessary for people,” Malik said.

Gates at SLC International Airport
http://airwaysnews.com/

Busy travelers who have not had their flu shot yet now have a new place to get the vaccine: the Salt Lake City International Airport.

Intermountain Healthcare opened the clinic, located between terminal two’s concourses C and D, in November said Operations Officer Ross Fulton.

“It does provide a very easy access and low cost solution for those travelers that seem to have fast-paced lifestyles and don’t have time to go to their primary care physician to get their flu shot,” Fulton said.


Utah Geological Survey

Utah has long been touted at being the happiest state in America, while paradoxically ranking amongst the highest in the nation for suicides and anti-depressant use. Long-standing theories on why this trend effects Utah and other nearby states have ranged from cultural influences to rural living and higher rates of gun ownership.

However, University of Utah Professor of Psychiatry Perry Renshaw’s research is showing that something much more basic may behind these somewhat incompatible rankings: altitude.

Tim Garrett

In the 2010 Doctor Who Christmas Special, the Doctor, a time traveling alien with a special place in his heart for humanity and the downtrodden, must convince a Scrooge-like character to save a crashing spaceship by turning off a thick cloud belt he controls.

The clouds are teaming with aquatic life including large, scary sharks. And as it turns out, they can be frozen by a voice at the right frequency.

While flying sharks are not real, it turns out frozen clouds are.

Police say a Logan woman who raised thousands of dollars after claiming to have a rare form of brain cancer falsified her claims. Leslie Jensen raised $17,000 at a fundraiser in early November.

“Basically, we don’t know where that money went, we don’t know if it still exists, if it’s been spent. This is an ongoing investigation at this point,” said Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen.

Utah Department of Health

Thursday, after months of anticipation, Gov. Gary Herbert unveiled the details of the Healthy Utah plan, his alternative to expanding Medicaid in the state. The plan, which would have to be approved by the state legislature, would help 95,000 Utahns who make $15,521 a year or less; 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

Herbert worked with officials from the federal government to come up with the privatized plan, one of five plans state lawmakers will consider adopting. Health Department Chief Executive David Patton said that unlike any other states, Herbert won concessions from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Those include co-pays for low-income residents seeking medical services and increasing the co-pay for non-emergency visits to the ER from $8 to $50.

Dinosaur National Monument

Three months after a dinosaur fossil was found vandalized in Dinosaur National Monument, the mineralized bone has been excavated and taken to Brigham Young University for repair. On Tuesday, BYU paleontologist Brooks Britt traveled to the monument outside of Vernal to remove the damaged humerus from the rocks along the Fossil Discovery Trail.

Dan Johnson, chief of interpretation and visitor services at the monument, said the damaged juvenile sauropod bone was among the most prominent fossils on the trail.

Facebook

 A body discovered in the Jordan River Monday has been identified as that of Kayelyn Louder. Murray City Police tweeted an update Tuesday evening, saying the cause of death has not been determined.

At the time Louder, 30, went missing, police say she was exhibiting strange behavior and made multiple 911 calls in the 24-hour period before her disappearance. Murray Police Officer Kenny Bass spoke with UPR in October.

“At this point we think it’s possible that she’s not in her normal state of mind,” Bass said.

utah.gov

A new 800-page study released by the Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office argues that Utah could afford the management costs that would come with acquiring the more than 30 million acres of public lands the state has been hoping to gain control of.

Governor Gary Herbert, along with other Utah lawmakers, has been pushing the Federal Government to hand over ownership of the property, which makes up more than half of the land in the state. A bill passed in 2012 cited the 1894 Enabling Act and demanded the federal Government hand over the land by 2015.

travel.utah.gov

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is proposing to expand the number of permits and areas in which black bears can be hunted in the state.

DWR Mammals Coordinator Leslie McFarlane said the number of black bears in Utah has more than doubled since the 1990s.

“We estimate that we’ve got about 4,100 bears, if not probably a little more than that, and most of them live in our mountainous areas of the state,” McFarlane said.

The increase in the bear population has led to more conflict with both people and livestock. The DWR says in an average year 50 bears are euthanized after coming into contact humans and animals; however, in 2014 that number increased to 81 bears.

Ching Farm Animal Rescue.

At the Ching Farm’s Thanksgiving dinner earlier this month there wasn’t any Turkey on the menu. Instead, the goal of the 16th annual Vegan Thanksgiving dinner was to help turkeys and other animals that call the Riverton-based animal sanctuary home. The Ching animal sanctuary provides a place to live for farm animals that were destined for slaughter. It holds a fundraising Thanksgiving feast each year to keep the farm going.

Rescue Executive Director and farm founder Faith Ching said various community groups provide food for the dinner, which is attended by 300 people each year.

“We have the traditional everything," Ching said. "From the cranberry sauce to the mashed potatoes and all of that…it’s just vegan. Everything tastes the same, it’s just that we don’t have to hurt any animals to do it."

President Barack Obama
www.whitehouse.gov

Utah politicians had a lot to say after President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration Thursday, in which he announced his support of deferring deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert said in a statement that he was disturbed the president would take such divisive and unilateral action. Herbert said the broken immigration system is compromising national security and must be addressed by congress.


Gender signs
kickstarter.com

Along with the quizzes about which states you’ve visited and which Disney character is your spirit animal, another online survey has been spreading like wildfire across Facebook pages in Utah—the Mormon Gender Issues Survey.

Unlike other online quizzes, the gender issues survey has the backing of researchers from universities across the nation, who plan to publish the survey findings.

The Human Rights Campaign

Despite growing support for marriage equality nationally, the relative equality of LGBT people still varies dramatically from city to city, according to a new study.

woman holds food
spicekitchenincubator.org

Organizers of the Spice Kitchen Incubator, a program which helps refugees start their own businesses, unveiled their new kitchen space in Salt Lake City yesterday.

Natalie El-Deiry is the department director at the International Rescue Committee and oversees the Spice Kitchen Incubator project. She says her organization had received a growing number of requests from the refugee community for help establishing food businesses. After training entrepreneurs in non-permanent spaces across the city, El-Deiry said she’s excited to see the program finally have a space of its own.

“We provide workshops, technical assistance and training,” El-Deiry said. “We provide access to markets and market opportunities and we provide affordable access to a commercial kitchen.”

Alison Einerson

The Winter Market at Salt Lake City’s Rio Grande Station opened for its second year this past weekend. The market keeps the memories of summer farmers markets alive in its indoor location, with over 60 venders selling produce, sauces and jams, meat and baked goods.

Alison Einerson, Winter Market manager, said Saturday’s event drew between 2,500 and 3,000 people, a record crowd.

Kathy Searle

Finding homes for children who need to be adopted can be difficult, especially if they are older or have siblings; however, one group is trying to get them home, one photo at a time.

The Utah Heart Gallery kicked off its tenth year Wednesday. The gallery partners kids with volunteer photographers and displays the portraits at the state Capitol, said Adoption Exchange of Utah Director of Programs Kathy Searle.

Utah State University football player Hayden Weichers was indefinitely suspended from the university’s football team on Tuesday, the same day he was arrested and issued a citation for trying to solicit a prostitute.  

According to Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen, the 20-year-old redshirt freshman wide receiver tried to solicit a prostitute from Ogden in Logan on Oct. 22. Contrary to the speculation of football fans, Jensen said the delivery of the citation was postponed due to an ongoing investigation, not to allow Weichers to continue playing for USU.

Ghost
blogs.valpo.edu

Your heart starts racing, palms sweating, your muscles tense and goosebumps arise, there are butterflies in your stomach—you’re experiencing one of the basic human emotions: fear.

Fear is the work of the amygdala, a small part of the brain that can trigger a fight or flight response in less than a second. Some fears are learned and even cultural, while others have no borders, for example a fear of snakes, spiders or heights.

With so many things to be scared of in the world, researchers have long focused on how to stop fear. According to Columbia University professor Carolyn Rodriguez, by facing our fears we can trick our brains into overcoming what scares us. The more you face the fear, the more you trick your brain into releasing opioid chemicals that actually produce a feeling of comfort.

UPR reporters Elaine Taylor and Taylor Halversen set out to see if they could  overcome their fears by facing them directly.


The polls continue to swing in the Mia Love-Doug Owens Fourth Congressional District Race. Earlier this week a poll from BYU showed Owens, a Democrat, creeping ahead, but now a new poll shows that Republican Love is the one in the lead.

The poll from Utahpolicy.com gives Love a five percent lead over Owens, with 48 percent and 43 percent of the vote, respectively. However, the margin of error for the survey is also five percent, meaning it is likely no one will know who the next representative to congress will be until election night. The gap between the candidates is narrowing, however; the last poll from Utahpolicy.com had Love leading by nine percent.

According to the most recent poll, one-third of respondents have already cast their ballots for the election.

bls.gov

The numbers are in for Utah’s SAGE test, the new statewide exam used to measure student proficiency under the Common Core initiative, and the results show that Utah kids are not proficient.

According to the results, just 41.7 percent of students are proficient in language arts, 38.7 percent in mathematics and 43.7 percent in science. These numbers are all down from previous testing years, but officials say that is to be expected.

seattle.gov

Utah’s Supreme Court lifted its hold on adoptions by same-sex couples Thursday. The adoptions had been put on hold in May following the state’s decision to appeal a 10th Circuit Court ruling which struck down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage. However, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision earlier this month to not hear appeals from states seeking to keep their bans in place legalized same-sex marriage in Utah and opened the door for adoptions to begin.

vandalism artwork shows up in scenic places.
Casey Nocket / Modern Hiker

The National Park Service is investigating a string of vandalism incidents across the West, and they’re using social media to find the perpetrator.

The vandalism was first reported on the blog Modern Hiker. The blog claims the vandalism, which features paintings of people, was perpetrated by the New York based artist Casey Nocket. Nocket allegedly recorded the paintings on her Instagram account, which has now been deleted.

National Park Service Spokesperson Alexandria Picavet would not confirm that the artist listed in the blog post was responsible, however she did say that social media did help bring the problem to light.

T. Ruen

A partial solar eclipse is headed our way Thursday afternoon. NASA Ambassador Patrick Wiggins said the moon will move in front of the sun starting at 3 p.m. and continue until just after 5 p.m.

“Now it won’t cover it up completely, at maximum it will be a little less than half covered, but still that’s a nice taste for the total eclipse of the sun that we’ve got coming up in 2017 up in Idaho,” Wiggins said.

The number of eclipses varies from year to year; this year the state will see three.

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